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Posts tagged ‘Silvercorp Metals Inc (SVM)’

January 11th, 2014

Fluorspar analysis: Q1 2014 outlook Industrial Minerals
Zinc or swim: Do base metals have a future? Streetwise Reports
Making your portfolio resilient to commodity prices GoldSeek
Pondering 2014 stock performance Equedia
BCSC accuses blogger of Silvercorp $2.8-million short-selling fraud Stockhouse
The outlook for potash might be better than you think VantageWire

December 24th, 2013

Making your portfolio resilient to commodity prices GoldSeek
Pondering 2014 stock performance Equedia
BCSC accuses blogger of Silvercorp $2.8-million short-selling fraud Stockhouse
Shandong, China ordered to halt flake graphite production Industrial Minerals
Thomas Drolet: Why uranium and coal rank high for energy return on energy invested Streetwise Reports
The outlook for potash might be better than you think VantageWire

December 23rd, 2013

Rick Rule: “Every billionaire I know took bets contrary to conventional wisdom at the time they were highly risky” GoldSeek
BCSC accuses blogger of Silvercorp $2.8-million short-selling fraud Stockhouse
Shandong, China ordered to halt flake graphite production Industrial Minerals
Thomas Drolet: Why uranium and coal rank high for energy return on energy invested Streetwise Reports
The outlook for potash might be better than you think VantageWire
Inflation versus deflation and the growing currency war Equedia

December 20th, 2013

BCSC accuses blogger of Silvercorp $2.8-million short-selling fraud Stockhouse
Mickey Fulp: The supply and demand fundamentals of uranium UraniumSeek
Shandong, China ordered to halt flake graphite production Industrial Minerals
Thomas Drolet: Why uranium and coal rank high for energy return on energy invested Streetwise Reports
The outlook for potash might be better than you think VantageWire
Inflation versus deflation and the growing currency war Equedia

December 19th, 2013

BCSC accuses blogger of Silvercorp $2.8-million short-selling fraud Stockhouse
Mickey Fulp: The supply and demand fundamentals of uranium UraniumSeek
Shandong, China ordered to halt flake graphite production Industrial Minerals
Thomas Drolet: Why uranium and coal rank high for energy return on energy invested Streetwise Reports
The outlook for potash might be better than you think VantageWire
Inflation versus deflation and the growing currency war Equedia

Auguries—World Leaders Pretend

May 24th, 2012

May 24, 2012

By Kevin Michael Grace

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A wild week for gold, with the big gains of last Thursday and Friday wiped out and more but a recovery of $11 today. Gold was down (at press time) $15 (-1%) for the week to $1,559.40, and silver was up $0.20 (+0.7%) to $28.26. Various news organizations posited various explanations for the gyrations, with liberal use of the nouns “Greece,” “Eurozone,” “US dollar” and “safe haven.”

Searching for a metaphorical peg for this column, one discovers just the thing, used in this space almost a year ago. So here it is again, Danny from Withnail and I: “Politics, man. If you’re hanging on to a rising balloon, you’re presented with a difficult decision—let go before it’s too late, or hold on and keep getting higher. Posing the question: how long can you keep a grip on the rope?”

May 24, 2012

A jolly ride: Mind the drop.

Greece has been hobbled and may yet be wrecked, but our world leaders pretend will not let go of the rope. The last hope to save the European Monetary Union as currently constituted vanished when Chancellor Merkel ruled out issuing Eurobonds (as they would violate Germany’s constitution), and yet the talks go on. Ambrose Evans-Pritchard reports that “the smart money crowd” is counting on the risk of Greece’s exit being so discounted that “a brisk—if brief—market rally” would result.

Evans-Pritchard is not so sanguine. He writes, “The danger for Euroland is slow contagion…once the sanctity of monetary union is violated, compounding the underlying crisis as Portugal, Spain, and Italy sink deeper into (policy-driven) debt-deflation.” He points out that nothing EU leaders say can be trusted. Witness the pronouncements: “1. There would be no bailouts. 2. Sovereign defaults inside EMU were inconceivable. 3. EMU exit was out of the question, lunatic and so forth. Every one of these claims has been shown to be untrue.”

“Catastrophic,” is the word used by former Prime Minster Lucas Papademos to describe the consequences of Greek withdrawal from the Eurozone. Evans-Pritchard responds, “This is a religious incantation or possibly just a threat. It would be catastrophic, if EU leaders and the IMF chose to make it catastrophic. That is a political decision. Such shroud-waving borders on political blackmail.”

But one could hardly expect any different from a man who was, successively, professor of economics at Columbia, senior economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, Governor of the Bank of Greece, Vice President of the European Central Bank, professor of public policy at the Kennedy School at Harvard and senior fellow at the Centre for Financial Studies at the University of Frankfurt.

Consider, if you will, the indignity suffered by Prof Papademos in having to resort to blackmail, indeed having to resort to words. Time was when a mere nod or wink from any of the august members of the International Brotherhood of Smart Guys would put the nations of the world in their place.

The Brotherhood’s media minions are feeling the heat as well. In the Guardian, Gaby Hinsliff faces the dispiriting task of having to explain why a British exit from the EU would be unthinkable. Unfortunately, that “requires having good reason to believe in Europe. And the trouble is that even many of us who feel instinctively pro-European increasingly struggle to articulate precisely why.”

Time was the minions would resort to that old reliable, the argument from superiority. “It used to be easy. If you were irresistibly drawn towards florid men sporting pound sign badges and complaining about ‘political correctness gone mad,’ then you might be pro-withdrawal. Otherwise, not so much.”

Nowadays, however, supporters of another EU referendum include not only Daily Mail readers, UKIP voters and other troglodytes but also, shudder, Labour Party leaders. Oh dear, what is Hinsliff to do? In the event, she resorts to that new reliable, the argument from TINA—there is no alternative. “Britain is no longer just in the club but inextricably of it. No referendum can remove us from an international banking system that has welded one country’s fortunes to another’s through a complex chain of lending and borrowing across borders, a distant echo of the moral obligations binding one human to another.”

So, International Finance equals Liberté, égalité, fraternité? Isn’t the Guardian supposed to be a left-wing paper? Clearly, the binary division of politics into left and right wings which came out of the French Revolution has exhausted its utility. By traditional standards, all political leaders (the “conservative” parties included) are now left-wing, but they are all utterly beholden to bankers, who have always been considered right-wing.

Stock Tips and the Joke of the Week

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Auguries—Public Enemy

April 26th, 2012

April 26, 2012

By Kevin Michael Grace

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Gold was up (at press time) $14.30 (+0.8%) for the week to $1,657.30, and silver was down $0.57 (-1.8%) to $31.16. GoldCore attributed gold’s rise to “concerns that the Fed could employ more QE in a further attempt to stimulate the economy… Continuing ultra-loose monetary policies and negative real interest rates continue to support gold.”

At a press conference yesterday, the Ben Bernanke declared, “If appropriate…we remain entirely prepared to take additional action.” One wonders why this would be necessary given the sunshine, lollipops and rainbows contained within Wednesday’s Federal Open Market Committee statement: economy expanding, unemployment down, household spending up, inflation not a threat.

Perhaps he’s got wind of the “smoking ruin” that is Europe. From Thursday’s Deutsche Bank communiqué: “Yesterday, the UK became the latest country to return to recession as GDP (-0.2% vs +0.1% expected) disappointed. Of major Western developed countries, the UK now joins Greece, Italy, Portugal, Ireland, Belgium, Denmark, Holland, Czech Republic and Slovenia as being in recession. By the time the data comes out next week, it’s likely to be followed by Spain, and remember German GDP was negative in 4Q and is expected to be flat in 1Q, so it’s not impossible that they will also follow.”

April 26, 2012

GoldCore reports that John Butler, author of The Golden Revolution: How to Prepare for the Coming Global Gold Standard, told Reuters TV, “The era of paper currency is coming to an end” and that $2,000-an-ounce gold could be “the bargain of a lifetime.”

Butler predicts that Russia could be the first country to return to the gold standard, which “could lead to a run on the US dollar and financial assets and could see the dollar lose 20% in 24 hours as investors pour into real assets such as oil and gold. This could lead to a depression in the US.” Butler sees this leading to another Bretton Woods conference, which would serve as the Congress of Vienna of the post-2008 world order.

Should gold, as Butler suggests, go to $5,000 an ounce, the Ben Bernanke would face death by pitchfork, which explains why the US Government is so keen on gold suppression. What remains unexplained is why the Obama administration has refused to do something, anything, to persuade Americans they have not been branded as Gadarene swine.

When Kwik-E-Mart proprietor Apu Nahasapeemapetilon was caught on camera selling spoiled meat, he replied (like Obama and the Ben Bernanke) that he was only “following standard procedure.” A corporate henchman countered, “But it’s also standard procedure to blame any problems on a scapegoat or sacrificial lamb.” Poor Apu pleaded, “Uh huh, and if I can obtain for you these animals?”

The obvious fall guy for America’s tainted financial system is public enemy Jon Corzine, erstwhile CEO of the erstwhile MF Global. Why is he yet not delivered to the mob for ritual slaughter?

At AlterNet, Pam Martens delivers the indictment. “Only on Wall Street can you bankrupt a company, misplace $1.6 billion of customers’ money; lose 75% of shareholders’ money in two weeks, speed dial a high-priced criminal attorney and get a court to authorize the payment of your multimillion dollar legal tab from the failed company’s insurance policies, have regulators waive your requirements to take licensing exams required to work in the securities and commodities industry, have your Board of Directors waive your loyalty to the firm, run a bucket shop out of the UK and still have the word ‘Honorable’ affixed to your name in a Congressional investigations hearing.”

Stock Tips and the Joke of the Week

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Auguries—Doors Of Perception

April 19th, 2012

April 19, 2012

By Kevin Michael Grace

Gold was down (at press time) $33.60 (-2%) for the week to $1,643, and silver was down $0.57 (-1.8%) to $31.73. Reuters commented, “Gold has lost around $50 an ounce since late February after a strong run of US economic data dashed hopes of further US monetary easing. A recent drop of volume also reflects waning investor interest in the gold trade.”

According to Carlos Perez-Santalla of PVM Futures, “With the perception that the major economies of the world have their affairs under control, precious metals remain under some pressure.” Perception, eh? Is everyone on antidepressants?

We know that IMF chief economist Oliver Blanchard remains unmedicated. He said Tuesday, “Things have quietened down, but there is a very uneasy calm. I have a feeling that at any moment things could get very bad again.”

April 19, 2012

Specifically, in the event of a Eurozone-country default, “It is possible that other Euro area economies would come under severe pressure as well, with a full-blown panic in financial markets. Under these circumstances, a breakup of the Euro area could not be ruled out. This could cause major political shocks that could aggravate economic stress to levels well above those after the Lehman collapse.” In other words, Great Depression II.

Even the Economist, the Keep Calm and Carry On of business publications, is having doubts. New York Bureau Chief Matthew Bishop told the Wall Street Journal Monday that “people have lost faith in the 20th-century religion of government-backed fiat money.” He said he would buy gold but is not allowed to by his employer and recommended investors keep 5% to 10% of their portfolios in the metal.

GoldCore comments, “The Economist magazine has a strong Keynesian bias and has been one of the most antigold publications in the world with many simplistic, unbalanced and ill-informed articles. The publication has suggested on many occasions since 2008 that gold is a bubble…. Indeed, there has often been a suggestion that those who buy gold are irrational ‘goldbugs.’”

GoldCore concludes that Bishop’s “conversion” is “another step towards gold moving from the fringe to the mainstream.”

That’s as may be, but there remains no relief in sight for precious-metals equities. Peter Grandich writes, “It’s about 25 years since I first started speculating (gambling) in the junior resource market, and I can’t recall a stronger sense of dislike, disgust and hopelessness…in this sector than I am seeing and feeling now…. I have not seen such a dire state relative to when gold was well below $300 and it seemed like ‘last one out of juniors turn out the lights.’”

Grandich lists six possible reasons for the perception that gold and silver stocks are simply not worth the bother: regulatory chill, American uninterest, smallness of sector scale, reduction of the hold period on private placements, routinely quick turnover of warrants and quick sales for small profits made possible by low commissions charged by discount brokers.

At Financial Sense, Kathryn Derbes argues, “Right now we are in the middle of a monetary war to return to a sound monetary system. The paper gold pricing system vs the physical holders are on the front lines…. Physical gold is in and going into strong hands. On waterfall price declines in the paper market physical purchases accelerate. We see virtually no selling of physical during times like this.”

This suggests that the rise of perceived gold and silver is a major reason for the eclipse of the juniors. Before ETFs, there were only two ways to invest in precious metals—directly, in bullion, and indirectly, in the companies that find and produce them. Now, money that would have supported gold and silver miners goes into a system easily manipulated. Does anyone doubt that should gold go to $2,500 or $3,000, juniors would no longer be drowning at the bottom of a slough of despond?

A GATA correspondent complains, “It’s increasingly difficult to grit my teeth and hang onto my positions in gold and silver, in the gold and silver exchange-traded funds GLD and SLV and even actual bullion (like American Eagle coins). I fully agree with GATA’s views on bankster manipulation of these markets, but the breakout forecast for the metals has been thwarted for decades, with no lasting loss of bankster control in more than 30 years.”

GATA responds, “The price suppression can continue indefinitely, even forever, as long as enough institutions and individuals who think they’re buying gold and silver purchase only paper claims and never take delivery from the purported sellers and move the metal outside the banking system. Such investment behavior facilitates the infinite increase of imaginary gold, the mechanism of price suppression.”

On the other hand, as the GotGoldReport notes, now that rubbish prognosticator Dennis Gartman has put the boot into junior miners, the worst might be over.

And now to cases. Peter Grandich reports his “six largest personal holdings dollar-wise,” as of April 17. Four are gold stocks: Geologix TSX:GIX, Oromin TSX:OLE, Sunridge TSXV:SGC and Spanish Mountain TSXV:SPA.

At the Financial Post, Peter Koven reports that Michael Curran of RBC Capital Markets maintains a $17 price target on Osisko TSX:OSK (currently $9.62).

At the Globe and Mail, Darcy Keith reports that Chris Lichtenheldt of UBS has cut his price target for Silvercorp TSX:SVM from US$8.50 to US$8 (currently CAN$6.62) and that Rahul Paul of Canaccord Genuity confirms his target of US$13.50 for AuRico Gold TSX:AUQ (currently CAN$8.52).

Reuters reports April 18 that “Gold miner Yukon-Nevada Corp TSX:YNG said it has initiated a strategic review of its operations, which may include a sale of the company, sending its shares up as much as 21%.” Christopher Ecclestone of Hallgarten & Company thinks a “distress sale” of the company likely, with Barrick TSX:ABX and Newmont TSX:NMC “likely contenders.”

At 321Gold, Bob Moriarity declares, “Cash flow is king. If you don’t believe that you may want to look at a two-year chart of Rio Alto TSX:RIO.” He concludes, “They aren’t as cheap as they were when I wrote about them [two years ago], but with over 200,000 ounces of gold a year, they are still probably pretty cheap.”

And at the Gold Report, Vishal Gupta says of Arian Silver’s TSXV:AGQ Mexico Zacatecas project, “I see a lot of potential. The resource could conceivably go from the current 120 million ounces all the way to the 200 million to 250 million ounces range.” He believes “silver is a very undervalued commodity right now,” and “Many of the silver names, including First Majestic Silver Corp TSX:FR, are just starting to come into prominence.”

Finally, we learn from the latest issue of Newsweek that sexual practices once associated with the Marquis de Sade are now entirely conventional—and feminist friendly! More curious than that is their story, “What Obama Can Learn From LBJ.” What might that be? The political advantages of showing your gall bladder scar to photographers, lifting dogs by their ears or holding meetings whilst defecating? Or perhaps Obama needs advice on how to become the most hated man in America. Go on, Newsweek; enlighten us.

Auguries—Doubling Down

April 12th, 2012

April 12, 2012

By Kevin Michael Grace

Gold was up (at press time) $44.90 (+2.8%) for the week to $1,676.60, and silver was up $0.68 (+2.1%) to $32.36. Fox Business attributed the gains to “Bill Dudley, the president of the New York Fed, signal[ing] that he is most likely in favour of providing additional [quantitative] easing as he gave a negative read on the economy.”

According to Dudley, “It is still too soon to conclude that we are out of the woods, as underlined by the March labour market release. To begin with, the economic data looked brighter at this point in 2010 and again in 2011, only to fade later in those years.”

Dudley explains why this column persists in putting inverted commas around the word recovery. As he noted, there was a false dawn two years ago and again last year. Meanwhile, governments continue to create oceans of liquidity and debt levels continue to soar, even as the US unemployment rate falls only because millions of Americans continue to give up on the idea of ever finding work.

April 12, 2012

And too much liquidity is never enough. Europe has already blown through one trillion Euros, even as Spain and Italy slouch toward disaster, and the Continental banking system comes ever closer to insolvency.

Last week, this column warned against making too much of the Ben Bernanke’s supposed kibosh of further quantitative easing, as his thoughts on the matter were, at that time, already three weeks old (and have now been supplanted by Dudley’s). But fools rush in where angels fear to tread, and Dennis Gartman has declared—Dun! Dun! Dun! —the end of the bull market in gold.

Gartman has written off gold so many times it is difficult to count. Back in December, when gold was at $1,565, Peter Grandich commented, “Gartman is one of three people who many in the media continue to quote despite a nearly decade-long poor overall track record on gold. He, Jeff Christian and Jon Nadler [Grandich's "Three Stooges"] have demonstrated to me (and I suspect many others) that a broken clock’s percentage of telling the correct time in any given day is about the same as their actual accurate forecasts for gold in the last decade.”

Eden Tully is another expert all too eager to predict long-term trends based on quotidian (ie, three-week delayed) data. He told Forbes, “[Bernanke's March 13] minutes painted a rather more optimistic view on growth, a more convincing take on the basis for the decline in the unemployment rate and most worryingly of all for gold, an acknowledgement by the Fed of the potential for a change in the end-2014 forward guidance.”

At Seeking Alpha, Gary Tanashian asks, “Why the haste to make such a call, good sir? And you Forbes; why pile on now when everyone from Buffett to Bernanke himself is mowing down the poor, underarmed goldbugs? If gold is so marginalized, why the big and seemingly coordinated negative ad campaign?”

Fear, perhaps? As Ambrose Evans-Pritchard notes, “Whether or not the global economy has really put the nightmare of 2008-2009 behind it and embarked on a durable cycle of growth is of course the elemental question.”

The argument from authority—the “recovery” is real because we’re the experts, and we say so—cannot bind the markets, especially since authority has left the building. President Obama delivered a speech Tuesday interpreted by the Right as an attack on capitalism. It was actually evidence of a mind at the end of its tether.

“I believe the free market is the greatest force for economic progress in human history,” Obama said. “But here’s the thing. I also agree with our first Republican President—a guy from my home state, a guy with a beard, named Abraham Lincoln. [Oh boo, groan, hiss.] And what Lincoln said was that through our government, we should do together what we cannot do as well for ourselves. That’s the definition of a smart government.”

After this praise of the president whose version of subsidiarity was one-half of the country destroying the other half at the cost of one million lives, Obama touted America’s bloated military and public schools, its labyrinthine highway system and its unsustainable Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and unemployment insurance programs. These “investments,” he claimed, “haven’t been made as some grand scheme to redistribute wealth from one group to another.” But this is precisely what they are, redistribution of income.

Obama accused the Republicans of arguing that “If we would just convert these investments that we’re making through our government in education and research and healthcare—if we just turned those into tax cuts, especially for the wealthy, then somehow the economy is going to grow stronger. That’s the theory. And here’s the news: We tried this for eight years before I took office.” But there have been no cuts in these “investments”; instead, their costs continue to be passed on to future generations.

After posturing as a friend to the ninety-nine-percenters, Goldman Sachs’ best friend Obama accused his enemies of “doubling down on these old broken-down theories.” This is what Freud called the “narcissism of small differences.” Both the Democrats and the Republicans continue to double down on ever-larger government they can’t afford. The Republicans want more money for the military and the transformation of foreign countries; the Democrats want more money for bureaucracies and the transformation of America. Both parties continue to pretend that if they ignore the wolf at the door long enough, he’ll grow bored and slink away. Just as Gartman and Tully pretend that if they ridicule gold long enough, it will turn to lead.

And now to cases. Reuters reports April 9 that CIBC has cut Gabriel Resources’ TSX:GBU price target from $8 to $5.50 (currently $3.13) and April 12 that it has set an initial target for Premier Gold TSX:PG of $7.50 (currently $5.07).

James West of the Midas Letter Opportunity Fund gave BNN his latest picks April 9. He likes Hunter Bay TSXV:HBY and its Sela Creek Suriname gold project because of its “closeology” to other winners on the Guyana Shield Greenstone Belt. He likes Tinka TSXV:TK and its 20-million-ounce Peru Colquipucro silver project, which he sees going as high as “50 million ounces or beyond.” And he likes Asher Resources TSXV:ACN for its management, its tight share structure and because its Nevada King Mine gold project is adjacent to former producers, “yet has never seen modern exploration.”

And at Seeking Alpha, Simit Patel surveys the silver equities. He says that while Pan American TSX:PAA is “very appealing in many ways,” he prefers Silvercorp TSX:SVM, “a negative cost-per-ounce producer… well-positioned to double from here if silver resumes its upward movement,” Silver Wheaton TSX:SLW, “a great candidate for being a part of a precious-metals royalty portfolio…outstanding jurisdictional diversification” and McEwen TSX:MUX, “The reason to invest is [founder Rob] McEwen—a proven company builder in this sector, as the success of Goldcorp TSX:G suggests.”

Finally, the late Trayvon Martin was bumped briefly from the front pages this week by Hilary Rosen. Who she? The PR spiv who attacked Ann Romney, wife of the presumptive Republican Presidential nominee and stay-at-home mother of five, as someone who has “actually never worked a day in her life.” As opposed to, say, bribing politicians with industry money and then reminding them how to vote. Rosen was previously best-known for repositioning the Recording Industry Association of America from obscure to popularly loathed. That was before she managed to reposition the Democrats as the party that hates motherhood. Now that’s public relations.

Auguries—Oraclenomics

February 16th, 2012

February 16, 2012

By Kevin Michael Grace

Gold was down (at press time) $1.20 (-0.1%) for the week to $1,730.10, and silver was down $0.40 (-1.2%) to $33.52. According to our favourite wire service, gold remains dependent on the Euro, which isn’t looking too good “after European officials postponed a decision on a bailout package for Greece, which fuelled fears the heavily indebted nation could face a chaotic default.”

This space remains highly sceptical regarding this magical power attributed to the Euro. In any event, we should see a clarification shortly, as the Greek bailout is a busted flush. At best. At worst, it is Germany dealing from the bottom of the deck. According to a website called The Slog, “A written document giving firm dates and detailed actions for a planned Greek default has been in the possession of two top Wall Street bank currency trading bosses since the second week in January… The plan gives a firm date of March 23 for default to be announced after the close of business.”

February 16, 2012

Karl Denninger comments, “As I have repeatedly said, the problem is not, in the main, Greece. It is that Italy, Portugal, Ireland and perhaps others will demand the same thing when Greece defaults, especially if they ‘get away with it,’ and it is nearly certain (absent armed intervention) that they will. Be ready.”

If these countries default, Club Euro will be smaller and much more exclusive shortly. But the Euro isn’t the big news in gold this week. Warren Buffett is. The soi-disant Oracle of Omaha this week delivered to his shareholders (and Fortune) an encyclical on the subject. Buffett doesn’t like gold, for the same reason the Vicar of Rome doesn’t like contraception: it’s not “procreative.” To wit: “If you own one ounce of gold for an eternity, you will still own one ounce at its end.”

One could respond that that’s precisely the point. As the great Peter Blegvad sings,

Gold would be useless if it didn’t require such
Heartbreak to seek it, to find it and mine it
Things remain precious as long they’re rare
If gold could be found lying round everywhere
It’d be the lowliest of metals, too soft for serious use
Pretty, of course, and warm to the touch
But no longer alluring, when you’ve handled so much

Buffett believes goldbugs are scaredy-cats, and, “What motivates most gold purchasers is their belief that the ranks of the fearful will grow. During the past decade that belief has proved correct. Beyond that, the rising price has on its own generated additional buying enthusiasm, attracting purchasers who see the rise as validating an investment thesis. As ‘bandwagon’ investors join any party, they create their own truth—for a while… But bubbles blown large enough inevitably pop.”

Perhaps so, but “inevitably” can mean a long time. Gold traded at $37 an ounce in 1970, while the Dow Jones was at 839. Based on today’s closing prices, the Dow is worth 15.4 times as much, but gold is worth 46.8 times as much.

A rather nice rate of return, but what would Buffett have us invest in instead? His prefers “productive assets, whether businesses, farms or real estate.” Real estate? Is he having us on? In procreative terms, houses are more barren than gold, which doesn’t need constant and expensive maintenance to prevent it from literally falling apart. As for businesses, some are productive, and some are not. It would be hard to argue that the Bank of America (as currently constituted) is a productive asset, but, as Auguries readers will remember, that didn’t stop Buffett from a making a substantial investment (read: sweetheart deal) in that institution last year.

Few will remember that Buffet delivered a pretty much identical encyclical last year (when gold was at $1,440) and was treated with the same fawning reverence. Why, he’s so sagacious and just-plain-folks, sort of a Mayor Tommy Shanks of the financial world. Practically a saint, really—who just happens to be the richest man in the world. And to paraphrase The Simpsons, “No one who invests $5 billion in Goldman Sachs in 2008 could be an evil man.”

Buffett, like all good men, is a stalwart supporter of President Obama and has raised a great deal of money toward his re-election. And of course this had nothing do with Obama’s rejection of the Keystone Pipeline. That Buffett, through his ownership of Burlington Northern, stands to benefit greatly by this is the purest coincidence, a happy accident, if you will.

Buffett is, above all, a patriot, as proved by his November 16, 2010, letter to Uncle Sam (reprinted in the New York Times), wherein he remembers 2008, “the darkest of days,” when “Ben Bernanke, Hank Paulson, Tim Geithner and Sheila Bair grasped the gravity of the situation and acted with courage and dispatch.” Buffett confesses, “And though I never voted for George W Bush, I give him great credit for leading, even as Congress postured and squabbled.” How admirably bipartisan of him and unexpected, too, especially as President Obama’s policy of bailouts for the 1% is exactly the same as President Bush’s.

Ultimately, Buffett is the standard bearer for the mutant capitalism whose hegemony over the world economy is coming to an end, first in Europe, then everywhere else. He says gold is a bad investment, but he would say that, wouldn’t he?

Will gold equities remain bad investments? In the Financial Post, Peter Koven writes, “Half-a-dozen large-cap gold miners are set to announce record profits for 2011, but investors are far from excited about their prospects. Despite gold prices above $1,700 an ounce, miners are struggling with soaring costs, execution problems and country risks. As a result, their stock prices have underperformed gold bullion despite the massive cash flows they are generating.”

Further to this, the Globe and Mail‘s Simon Avery reports that, despite a record-breaking 4Q, “Investors continue to value Barrick TSX:ABX at a price-to-earnings multiple far less than telecom companies and only a hair above most major US banks.” Which suggests that the market is simply prejudiced.

And now to cases. At Seeking Alpha, Vatalyst presents “five silver stocks, all with stories for generally positive outlooks, which could be profitable in 2012 [and] present a great entry point for investors looking to get into the silver market”: First Majestic TSX:FR, Silvercorp TSX:SVM, Silver Standard TSX:SSO, Coeur d’Alene TSX:CDM and Endeavour TSX:EDR.

From the same source, Simit Patel is quite keen on gold miners Nevsun TSX:NSU (especially after its recent fall in price) and Sunridge TSX:SGC. Yes, they are both in Eritrea, but Patel considers this a benefit, not a cost: “The country has been sanctioned by the UN, and so there is fear that it is economically cut off from the world at large. But I believe these fears are unfounded; China is a major supporter of Eritrea, and so I think from a geopolitical perspective, Eritrea is part of the value network that China runs. As I’ve noted numerous times…I believe China is the smart money of the global economy at large and particularly the resource sector.”

And at the Gold Report, newsletter publisher Sascha Opel touts European gold miners Carpathian TSX:CPN, Colt TSXV:GTP, Orex TSXV:REX and Astur TSXV:AST. He suggests “two potential takeovers in 2012″: Mansfield TSXV:MDR and Rye Patch TSXV:RPM.

Finally, controversy rages in New Jersey, where Governor Chris Christie will honour the late Whitney Houston by lowering state flags to half mast Saturday. In defence of his decision, Christie admitted that Houston was “not a role model” but noted that she was “a daughter of New Jersey” and claimed her as a “cultural icon in the history of this state.” This is good news for Garden Staters Deena, JWoww, the Situation, Pauly D and Snooki, cast members of the culturally iconic Jersey Shore, who will doubtless all succumb to tragic vodka and Valtrex overdoses sometime during the Christie administration.